Archive for July, 2004

Jul 13 2004

War Driving

Published by under Hacking

Confessions of a War Driver – Computerworld

I haven’t done any war driving in months, and since my wife has claimed ownership of my laptop, I doubt I’ll be doing any in the near future. On the other hand, I could use the work laptop instead. :-)

One of the first things pointed out in this article is one of the basic precepts of war driving: Thou shall not access another’s network under any circumstances. I’ve always tried to follow this rule. I’ve monitored the traffic flowing into and out of a network before, but never used an unsecured network for web surfing. My career would be ruined if I was caught hacking someone’s network. On the other hand, the average war driver doesn’t have this sort of incentive to be good. How many people out there are breaking the rules?

Thanks to for pointing me to this article.

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Jul 09 2004

No love from Google, Update FireFox

Published by under General

Google has yet to give me any invites to send out. I suspect it’s because there have been several scams revolving around invite sales. They’ve changed the Gmail EULA slightly to more explicitly state that invite sales are against Googles wishes. So until the situation is cleared up, I suspect no one will be getting new invites.

Firefox, Mozilla and Ethereal all need to be patched. You can find links to the patches and the vulnerabilities they fix at the Internet Storm Center. The problems don’t appear to be easily exploitable, but it’s best to have the latest rev of the product in any case.

I switched my family over to Firefox several weeks ago, and so far the experience has been positive. I had to download a few plugins the first time the kids went to their favorite sites, but since then, it’s been completely stable. It’s faster than IE, I love the ability to open multiple tabs in a single window, and I feel safer. That last part is purely a subjective perception, but it’s still important. I was getting so tired of hearing about the latest exploits against Internet Explorer.

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Jul 07 2004

I finally found it

Published by under Microsoft

US-CERT Vulnerability Note VU#713878

I’d read about the US Computer Emergency Response Team suggesting that users switch to a non-IE browser, but until today, I’d been unable to find the originating document. Well, today I found it thanks to Tech World News. The statement is in section III, under ‘Use a different web browser’

Microsoft couldn’t have been too happy to have the US government come out with this.

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Jul 07 2004


Published by under Microsoft

I haven’t had the time yet do more than read the FAQ yet, but any document put out by the National Institue of Standards and Technology is probably worth reading. Check out their article, Guidance for Securing Microsoft Windows XP from IT Professionals. One thing they make clear in the FAQ is that their suggestions apply only to XP, not other versions of windows. I just hope the basic lessons this article teaches people are sound. I’ll be interested in seeing if they explain the reasoning behind their suggestions.

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Jul 06 2004

Where do I file a complaint?

Published by under Security Advisories

One of my co-workers asked me a question this morning, wanting to know where to file a complaint about a scam someone tried to use against him this weekend. It was a strange realization to find out I didn’t know. I have several contacts in law enforcement that I could query fairly easily, but I thought it was strange that, as a security professional, I barely had any idea of what the proper channels were to bring scams to attention of the authorities. Now I know.

Check out the Interntet Crime Complaint Center. This the official place to file a complaint, as it’s funneled to the FBI. This is only a starting point, and I will update this post if I find a more appropriate place to report scams and rip off attempts. I’m glad my co-worker knew enough to do some research before he got scammed. If I can, I’ll update you on his experiences later.

Anyone else have experience using this site or reporting a scam to law enforcement in general? I’ve managed to stay away from these scams so far, but I’d be interested in hearing about other people’s experiences.

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Jul 01 2004

Web monitoring for the average parent

Published by under Simple Security

Check out “A parent’s guide to Linux Web filtering

This is a problem I’ve been mentally wrestling with for a little while. My children are almost 3 and 5, and I’m not too worried about their surfing habits right now, but I am a little worried about where they may go by accident. Not to mention that as they get older, I will have to worry about where they’re surfing.

From a quick glance, this quide appears to be well thought out and relatively complete, but it is pretty basic. It has enought information for the average geek to figure out how to implement the proxy, but I know my wife or my father would be totally mystified by the explanations. Of course, if your reading my page, you probably fall more into the ‘geek’ category than either of them.

I’m going to take a longer look at this and talk to my wife about implementation. It wouldn’t do to set this up and then start blocking her traffic by accident. I wonder how much granularity of control the software offers? I manage several SurfControl boxes at work, but it’s definitely not worth the effort to set that up at home. I also want a solution that’s not on the computer the kids use. I expect them to be hacking that computer within a few years, and I’d feel safer not having the controls where they can possibly access them.

If you have kids, what are you using to limit their surfing? Are you using a product on the desktop, such as NetNanny, or are you using a proxy already? Or are you using education and discussion as your tool of choice? Remembering my own childhood, I won’t feel bad if they see a little p0rn, but there are definitely some things out there I don’t want my children exposed to.

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Jul 01 2004

Power Outage

Published by under Site Configuration

We had a several hour power outage yesterday, and for some reason the cheap UPS I have just wasn’t able to keep the servers up through it. Most everything started up okay when the power came back on, except for two services: named and ntpd on the web server. I caught ntpd pretty quickly, but I failed to notice that named wasn’t working until I noticed that I had recieved almost no email in the last 24 hours. Start named up, and suddenly mail starts flowing again. Amazing.

I think it’s time to invest in a slightly beefier UPS. I know I’m not going to be able to afford something that would last through yesterday’s outage, but I want one that will keep up the computers for more than five minutes. Guess I’ll just have to add that to the list of wants. On the list of needs, we have troubleshooting the named service on the web server, which will probably take more time than getting a new UPS.

Oh well, back to our irregularly scheduled rants.

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